When you’re at the supermarket, what would move you to spend that little bit more and opt for organic? It’s generally a bit more expensive, and in this cash strapped climate when we’re beating a path to Lidl and Aldi to get more in our trolleys for less, I wonder how high on the agenda organic food is for people.
I’m working with the Organic Naturally Different Campaign to take a bit of time out to consider what benefits there are to choosing organic produce, and they’ve challenged me to come up with a 3 course festive menu for 8 people for £100 to see what products i’d opt to go organic with and how much of a challenge that proved when shopping at my usual supermarkets.
The campaign wants everyone to know that organic…
- is better for nature
- animals have high animal welfare standards
- contains less pesticide residues
For me animal welfare is high on the agenda, so when it comes to buying meat and dairy I’ll happily buy organic if my budget allows. The thought of having fewer chemicals on my fruit and veg is also very appealing, especially with feeding two young children.
When throwing a big dinner party for friends and family I am far more likely to opt for higher quality ingredients as it feels like a treat for a special occasion. On a more practical note I try and choose dishes that can be made or at least prepped in advance so it’s not a huge ordeal!
So here’s my idea for a menu suitable for a big family festive gathering this holiday.
Festive Meal Plan for 8 people
Goats Cheese Toasts with Hazelnuts and Chilli Honey
Easy make-ahead appetisers that have the perfect amount of creaminess, crunch and flavour that go brilliantly with a glass or two of fizz before dinner.
Prawn Cocktail with Lime and Chilli
Stunning make-ahead starter bursting with Asian flavours – a great twist on the classic prawn cocktail.
It’s not Christmas unless you’ve cooked a magnificent glazed ham – it’s sticky sweetness is rather addictive and completely indulgent served with creamy potato gratin.
This luxurious bake is one of my favourites from my friend Lucy Lovell, which I made for a photoshoot last year. It’s a generous size so perfect for feeding a crowd, and totally on point on the looks and flavour front for the perfect festive dessert.
Total cost of meal
Shopping online at Sainsbury’s
Non-Organic: £51.74 (approx £6.47 per head)
Organic: £61.30 (approx £7.66 per head)
That leaves plenty of money left for some nice wine!
What products would I want to be organic?
I’d opt for the stand out ingredients to be organic because of flavour, animal welfare and fewer chemicals…
- Goats cheese
- Gammon Joint
Were they available at my regular supermarket?
I’ve been shopping at Lidl a lot recently to save money, and while they stock organic fruit and vegetables they don’t seem to do any organic dairy or meat. For this challenge I chose Sainsbury’s as their So Organic range is quite extensive.
However there were a few organic things that I couldn’t get hold of at Sainsbury’s
- Goats Cheese
- Gammon Joint
So for the purpose of this task I either chose something comparable like baby spinach leaves instead of watercress, or just opted for the non organic product.
The price difference is only around £10, but the gap would have been wider had I visited more shops to find things like organic ham which I’m sure would have been substantially more expensive.
It’s made me think more closely about taking the organic option when it comes to fruit, veg, meat and dairy. I was surprised at the lack of organic options available in the supermarket, however I’m sure today’s budget conscious shoppers have a lot to do with that. If Lidl were to stock more organic produce then i’d certainly be buying more of it, but for now it remains a special occasion choice.
Disclosure: I have been commissioned by Organic UK to take part in this challenge and to share my experiences on my blog. All thoughts are my own. You can find out more about the Organic Naturally Different Campaign: